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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 10, 2014 5:00am-7:01am EST

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the current system we have is inappropriate. by nsa has to be reined in the courts. record collection -- if it is voluntary, i am fine with phone companies holding phone records. i do not want to mandate the period of time they hold them. when senator wyden and udall and others question the cases they say that were captured, the nsa says by this method and or other methods. senator wyden does not believe any of them could have been captured through a traditional, bill of rights warrant. [indiscernible] come out in favor
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of clemency. i do not think the death penalty is appropriate punishment, nor life imprisonment. ofse who call for some sort frontier justice need to understand there should be equal protection. ,ames clapper committed perjury punishable by five years in prison, if you want to throw the book at snowden, it is hard to say we are not going to do anything about james clapper lying to congress. >> you are not going to compare what he did with what's noted n did?- with what snowde >> i think i just did? [indiscernible] >> clapper did something worse than snowden? >> it is not my job to compare them, but james clapper has harmed the credibility of
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intelligence agencies, making it hard for us to believe them when they come to capitol hill. he lied when he was prepped for a question. as he said, he told the least untruthful thing he could think of. it has greatly damaged the intelligence community. it is arguable. [indiscernible] >> one or two more. >> comment on governor christie. >> he has enough questions to answer. is coming a deal together in the senate on employment insurance -- yesterday andat there was no vote, i think there is going to be a vote as we speak, tell me if it starts and i will have to go. . do not know exactly i think the republicans, my understand is that the republicans who voted to get the process started, most of them are on inclined to vote for it
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unless it is paid for. situation, darrell issa sent a letter regarding a contributor to the president and the democratic party leading the investigation of the justice department. that is something you have spoken quite a bit about. fox is not good to guard the henhouse, he is not good to investigate the henhouse. this needs to come from outside the administration. the president thinks that due can be performed with a powerpoint presentation and nsa attorneys, that is not due process. that is also a problem with the find truth toou an adversarial process and due process. i can do one more. >> i was going to try to get you
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on chris christie. >> on the budget. january 15 is approaching. >> i think the problem is largely solved on the budget process with the ryan-murray thing. , i cannotion guarantee this is going to happen, there will be no more fighting. peace will break out, i am serious about this. we are going to talk about obamacare until 2014, that is what is going to happen. >> both sides -- needs to behere restraint on spending, we should not raise the debt ceiling, the ryan-very budget just came up on the constraints we did have. people are going to say are we going to have a fight over raising the debt ceiling? why would we, we just gave up
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all the constraints in the ryan murray plan. capsst gave the sequester up. what would we possibly demand? i am pessimistic. if you want to see things go without having to bait or change anything, that will happen. the debt ceiling will go up and the budget passes, without a whole lot of problems. unemployment?of >> i don't think it passes in the house without it. thank you, everybody. >> the deadline is approaching for c-span's student video competition. what is the most important issue congress should address this year? with a documentary that includes c-span programming. 100,000 dollars in prizes with a grand prize of $5,000.
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entries are due by january 20. i think there is a way in which we have set up this impossible series of expectations, especially for our president. but for elected officials as a whole, that they are going to come in and save the day. giveit does not happen, we congress a 9% approval rating and a president a 39% rating. expectations have to be lowered. is quiteart of what amazing about the american founding. it is not that the founders themselves said look, do not expect much from government. government is not going to be the main driver of our liberty. it is going to be civil society. the federal government exists to do certain things and it better do them well. if not, nothing else will the property -- will be properly
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situated. the main area activity will be in civil society and in the election of local officers and the carrying out of duties at the local and state levels. even in that, there is a measure of modesty, recognizing that it for people from washington dc to run a nation of 310 million people. "humility."b on events to tell you about. on c-span2, forum on political outlook posted by center forward at 8:30 eastern. at 9:30, the joint economic discusses december and plug the numbers. is at the washington center to talk about bipartisanship.
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if i were to identify the most important challenge to overcome as muslims, it is the it is just as available to muslims. the reason we are here is because of the wahhabist inclination. it is not only a historical, it is anti-historical. it denies centuries of islamic theology and tradition and plurality. diversity. years of it subscribes to the idea that you have to follow ethics from period century, a short of time. our journey as american muslims has to be about refusing to be usd by clerics who speak for that islam in its ideals is a
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7th century reality. muslims whocans and need an islam of the 21st-century. being muslim in america, send an eye at 9:00, part of the tv on c-span2. online, we will be discussing mark levin's book. go to book tv o.org. new jersey governor chris christie has apologized for the action of aides who conspired to cause a traffic jam. he fired his deputy chief of staff reggie kelly -- of bridget kelly and cut ties with his former campaign manager. this is a little less than two hours.
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>> good morning. i come out here to this office where i've been many times before. today -- icon out here i today to out here apologize to the people of new jersey. i apologize to the people of fort lee and i apologize to the members of the state legislature. i am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team. there is no doubt in my mind that the conduct exhibited is completely unacceptable and
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showed it a lack of respect -- showed a lack of respect for the appropriate role of government and the people they were trusted to serve. two pieces of what i want to talk about today. the first is i believe that all of the people who were affected by this conduct deserve this apology and this is why i'm giving it to them. i also need to apologize to them for my failure as the governor of the state to understand the true nature of the problem sooner than i did. but i believe i have an understanding of the true nature of the problem and i have taken the following action as a result.
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this morning, i have terminated kelly,loyment of bridget effective immediately. employmentinated her because she lied to me. i brought my senior staff together about four weeks ago tomorrow and i put to all of them one simple challenge -- if there is any information that you know about the decision to close these lanes in fort lee, you have one hour to tell either my chief of staff kevin o'dowd or my chief counsel, charlie mckenna. i told him that in an hour i was going to go out and a press conference and if no one gave me any information to the contrary that i was going to say that no one on my staff was involved in
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this matter. over the course of the next few -- of the next hour, kevin and charlie interviewed members of the senior staff, came back and reported to me that they all reported that there was no information other than what we already knew that had been testified to by senator baroni regarding this incident. i then questioned kevin o'dowd and charlie mckenna rectally mckennaharlie directly since they are the only two who report directly to me and they assured me and they had no information that would change my ability to say that no one on my staff was involved in this matter. that was obviously a lie. the e-mails that i saw for the
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first time yesterday morning when they were broken proves that is a lie. there is no justification for that behavior. there is no justification for ever lying to a governor or a person in authority in this government. as a result i have terminated bridget's employment immediately this morning. secondly, i have and will continue to, starting with yesterday, to once again now have personal one-on-one discussions myself with the remaining members of my senior staff to determine if there is any other information that i do not know and need to know in order to take appropriate action. i am not completed with those
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interviews yet. when i am, if there is additional information that needs to be disclosed i will do so. if there is additional action that needs to be taken with my senior staff, i will do so. i will tell you, though -- it has been written a lot over the past couple of days about what a tightknit staff i have an how closely everyone works together. that is true. ever since the time i was u.s. attorney i have engendered a sense and feeling among the people closest to me that we are family and we work together and we tell each other the truth and support each other when we need to be supported and we admonish each month -- admonish each -- we admonish each other when we need to be admonished. i am heartbroken that i permitted to be in that circle of trust for the last five euros -- years betrayed my trust. i would never have come out here
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four or five weeks ago and made these lane closures if i had had an inkling that anyone on my staff would have been so stupid as to be involved and so deceitful as to not disclose the information of their involvement to me when directly asked by their superior. those questions were not asked just once. they were asked repeatedly. i take this action today because it is my job. i am responsible for what happened. i am sad to report to the people of new jersey that we fell short. we fell short of the expectations that we have
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created over the last four years for the type of excellence in government they should expect from this office. but i have repeatedly said to them that while i promised them the best governor's office i could give them, i could never promised them a perfect governor's office. when i find those imperfections, those mistakes, those lies, my obligation as a chief executive of the state is to act. as to bridget kelly, i have acted today. secondly, i was disturbed by the tone and behavior and attitude of callous indifference that was displayed in the e-mails by my former campaign manager. reading that, it made me lose my
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confidence in bill's judgment. you cannot have someone at the top of your political operation who you do not have confidence in. as a result, i have instructed no to not place his name in nomination for state party beirman and he will not considered for state party chairman. i have instructed him to withdraw his consultancy with republican governor's association. if i cannot trust someone's judgment, i cannot ask others to do so. i would not place him at the head of my political operation because of the lack of judgment that was shown in the e-mails that were revealed yesterday. that is also been communicated. to mr. stepien last night. there is no doubt that bill has
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been one of my closest advisers over the last five years. for that, i am sad today to have to take this action. i also know that i have a job to do. it is a job that i have asked the people of new jersey to entrust me with and i can never allow personal feelings or long-standing relationships to get in the way of doing my job the way it is appropriate to do it. but i don't want any of you to confuse what i am saying this morning. ultimately, i am responsible for what happens under my watch, the good and the bad. and when mistakes are made, then i have to own up to them and take the action that i believe
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is necessary in order to remediate them. as i mentioned earlier, i spent all day yesterday digging in to talking to folks and getting to the bottom of things. i know there was much discussion yesterday about, what was i doing? let me tell you, everybody. i was blindsided yesterday morning. i was done with my workout yesterday morning. i got a call from my communications director at about 8:50, 8:55 informing me of the story that had broken on the "bergen record" website. that was the first i'd knew about that, seen any of the documents revealed yesterday. before i came out and spoke to all of you, i wanted to do the best that i could to get to the bottom of some of this so that when i came out i could answer questions as best i can and take
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appropriate action if action was necessary. there is no doubt from reading those e-mails yesterday, in my mind, that action was necessary. then i wanted to make sure that i spoke to those people that advised me to make sure there was any other information that they were aware of that i had it before i acted. i want to continue this process. i could not get it all done yesterday. as i said, if there is more information that i uncover i , will act accordingly in terms terms of releasing it to the public and taking whatever net -- taking whatever action is necessary. given there is an oig investigation and legislative investigation. later today i am going to be going to fort lee and asked to meet with the mayor to apologize
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to him personally, face to face. also to apologize to the people of fort lee in their town. i think they need to see me do that personally, and i intend to do that later on today. people of those communities for four days were impacted in a completely callous and indifferent way. i'm going to go and apologize for that. let me conclude with this -- this is not the tone that i have set over the last four years in this building. it is not the environment i have worked so hard to achieve. we saw just a few months ago, and i have seen over the the course over the last four years, republicans and democrats working together. not without arguments, but ultimately coming to resolution on so many different issues in a bipartisan way and running a campaign that was a bipartisan campaign. so i'm extraordinarily
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disappointed by this. but this is the exception. it is not the rule of what has happened over the last four years in this administration. i've considered it to be my job to be the governor of every new jersey citizen, republican, democrat, and independent. i've worked with officials on both sides of the aisle, once i have disagreed with and agreed with. the political overtones that were exhibited in those documents released yesterday by -- and the conduct of those people is not acceptable. but people all across this state understand. they understand that human beings are not perfect. mistakes are made. i believe that what they expect of me as the chief executive of
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the state is when that information comes into my possession that i consider it and act as swiftly as possible to remediate whatever ill occurred. that is what i have done today. actions have consequences. i am living up to that right now. i will say one last thing, just so we are really clear. i had no knowledge or involvement in this issue. in its planning or its execution. i am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here regardless of what the facts ultimately uncover. this was handled in a callous and indifferent way and it is not the way the administration has conducted itself of the last four years and not the way it will conduct itself over the next four.
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i will do everything in my power to assure the people of new jersey that and i thank them for their willingness to consider my apology on behalf of of this government. in the end, i have 65,000 people working for me and i cannot know what they are doing it every minute. but that does not matter. i am ultimately responsible for what they are doing. governor, beyond the apology and the terminations, what other concrete steps you plan to -- for the people of new jersey and the people of the country that you want to change the perception of what has happened here? will that include working cooperatively with the investigation that is now moving forward? in the past, you had some rather nasty words for people heading them up.
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>> yeah, and i apologize for that this morning. i was being led to believe by folks around me that there was no basis for it. so let's be fair. there have been times when there have been investigations around here that have led to nothing and have had no basis, but i was wrong. now having been proven wrong, of course we'll work cooperatively with the investigation. and i'm going through an examination as i mentioned to you right now. that's what i'm doing. i'm going through an examination and talking to the individual people who work for me, not only to discover if there's any other information we need to find, but also to ask them how did this happen? how did this occur to us? i think -- listen, i said before, i had a tight knit group of people who i trust implicitly. i had no reason to believe they weren't telling me the truth.
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it is heartbreaking to me that i wasn't told the truth. i'm a very loyal guy. and i expect loyalty in return. and lying to me is not an exhibition of loyalty. so i'm going to look into this personally. this is my responsibility, david. what steps we'll take after that, if there are concrete steps beyond what i have done today, then we'll certainly announce them and talk about them. if not, then i'll just say, i think we have gotten to the bottom of this and we'll move forward with the new team. i have a new team coming in as well who i'm trying to integrate now also in the next two weeks. there will be a lot of action going on around here. >> governor. reveals you are a political -- [inaudible] does this compromise --
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>> no, i'm not. listen, kelly, everybody in the country who engages in politics knows that. on the other hand, that's very, very different than saying that someone is a bully. i have very heated discussions and arguments with people in my own party and own the other side of the aisle. i feel passionately about issues. i don't hide my emotions from people. i am not a focus group tested, blow-dried candidate or governor. now, that has always made some people, as you know, uneasy. some people like that style, some people don't. and i have always said, i think you asked me a question after the election, are you willing to change your style in order to appeal to a broader audience? i think i said no. because i am who i am. but i am not a bully. what i will tell you is that the folks who have worked with me
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over a long period of time would, i believe, tell you that i'm tough. but i've shown over the last four years and the tone we have set here that i'm willing to compromise, that i'm willing to work with others. and the campaign showed with all of the folks who came from the other side of the aisle to support us, if we weren't willing to have relationships with those folks, it never would have happened that way. i don't believe that, kelly, and i don't believe the body of work in the last four years displayed that. now, in this instance the language used and the conduct displayed in those emails is unacceptable to me. and i will not tolerate it. but the best can i do is when i see stuff like that to end it. and i know that won't satisfy everybody, but i'm not in the business of satisfying everybody. i'm in the business of trying to satisfy the people who elected me governor. michael.
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>> governor, you stated you're going to individually interview all the members of the governor's office. >> senior staff. >> what about the campaign? are you going to personally interview -- how about that does not rise above bill stepian in the campaign? >> there was no one above bill stepien in the campaign, he was the campaign manager. there was no one above. their role in the campaign was not the day-to-day operation in the campaign. bill was the chairman of the campaign and he was essentially involved in fundraising. that was bill's main task. mike duhain was the general consultant. he dealt with tv ads. the day-to-day operation of the campaign -- >> they did not know about it yet go -- they did not know about it? >> yes. i have spoken to both of them. they were two of my discussions yesterday.
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angie. angie. guys, we don't work that way. >> how confident are you that this tactic will not go beyond this? >> listen, i'm not going -- i'm smart enough now after this experience not to go out there and certify that unequivocally. ok? i don't have any evidence before me as we speak that it went beyond this incident. but i can't tell you that i know that for sure as to every aspect of everything. now, i have to be much more circumspect about that. prior to yesterday i believed that if i looked someone in the eye who i worked with and trusted and asked them that i would get an honest answer. maybe that was naive. that's what i believed. now i'm going in and digging in and asking more questions. but i cannot make a warranty on that. and i won't because when i did that four weeks ago i wound up being wrong. >> did you not authorize --
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as retribution -- >> absolutely not. no. and i knew nothing about this. until it started to be reported in the papers about the closure. even then, i was told this was a traffic study. senator baroni testified it was traffic study. there still may have been a traffic study that now has political overtones to it as well. i don't know the answer to that, angie. we are going to find out. but i don't know because senator baroni presented all types of information that day to the legislature, statistics and maps and otherwise, that seemed evidence a traffic study. why would i believe that anybody would not be telling the truth about that? i think i said that at the time. not finished yet, guys. but the fact is that regardless of all that, it's clear now that in the minds of some people there were political overtones or political side fields on this. and that's unacceptable.
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so whether there was a traffic study or not, i don't know. it appeared there was one based on what i saw in the testimony, but regardless of whether there was or wasn't there clearly also political overtones that were evident in that -- in those emails and other messages that were never, ever brought to my attention until yesterday. >> do you understand why people would have a hard time -- it is -- believing you would not know yet go considering your management style. and that you did not know about it, what does that say about your management style? >> listen, i am -- there's this repetition out there me being a micromanager. i'm not. i think if you talk to my staff what i tell you is i delegate enormous authority to my staff. and enormous authority to my cabinet. and i tell them, come to me with
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the policy decisions that need to be made, with some high level personnel decisions that need to be made, but i do not manage in that kind of micro way first. second, there is no way that anybody would think that i know about everything that's going on not only in every agency of government at all times, but also every independent authority that new jersey has on its own or by state with new york, pennsylvania, and delaware. so what i can tell you is people find that hard to believe, i don't know what else to say except to tell them that i had no knowledge of this. of the planning, execution, or anything about it. then i first found out about it after it was over. and even then what i was told was that it was a traffic study. and there was no evidence to the contrary until yesterday. that was brought to my attention or anybody else's attention. so, i understand why people would ask that question and i understand your question
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completely. but what i also want to tell the people is that even with all that being said, it's still my responsibility. i didn't know about it, but it's my responsibility because i'm the governor. so i'm taking that responsibility and taking actions appropriate with executing the responsibility in accord with what the information is today. marcia? >> governor, the u.s. attorney in new jersey set is developing an investigation to determine whether federal law was violated. , wouldare u.s. attorney you think there was anything to be investigated? >> as i have said many times, when i was u.s. attorney i hated when politicians stood behind a podium and said, this is what the u.s. attorney should or shouldn't do and i'm not going to engage in that conduct. at all. >> are you asking your staff are there any other cases of political retribution during
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your campaign? >> listen, again. let me say this. clearly that's the tone of those emails, but the thing that -- the other part that shocks me is, as i have said to you all many times before, mayor sokolich was never on my radar screen. he was never mentioned to me as somebody whose endorsement we were pursuing. i think he said on cnn he doesn't recall being asked for his endorsement. so part of this is i never saw this as political retribution because i didn't think he did anything to us. now, we pursued lots of endorsements during the campaign from democrats, and we didn't receive most of them. we received about 60 at the end of the day. we pursued hundreds. so i never -- i don't have any recollection of at any time anybody in the campaign ever asking me to meet with mayor sokolich or call him which was the typical course that was used
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when we were attempting to get endorsement that staff would work with the elected official first and then when they thought, using the vernacular, the ball was on the tee, they would call me in to make a phone call or have a meeting over breakfast and i would meet with the elected official and see if i could bring it over the line. i don't remember ever meeting mayor sokolich, certainly never did in that context. i'm sure i met him at some point at an event, but i have to tell you, until i saw his picture last night on television, i wouldn't have been able to pick him out of a lineup. so part of this is the reason that the retribution idea never came into my head is because i never even knew that we were pursuing his endorsement. and no one ever came to me to get me to try to pursue the endorsement in any way. i never saw it as a serious effort. >> now that you know it did happen -- >> of course, of course. john, john.
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>> when you say you are going to continue ask questions to your staff, what kind of questions are you going to ask yourself? 65,000 people -- people you trusted at your birthday party. piece? was that last ?> a birthday of party of mine a few of them were there. -- the group,k they were willing to do this and now are trying to cover up -- >> listen, obviously i said earlier john, i'm heartbroken about it. and i'm incredibly disappointed. i don't think i have gotten to the angry stage yet, but i'm sure i'll get there. i'm just stunned. and what it make me ask about me? it makes me ask about me what did i do wrong to have these folks think it was ok to lie to
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me? and there's a lot of soul- searching that goes around with this. when you're a leader of an organization, and i have had this happen to me before where i have had folks not tell me the truth about something, not since i have been governor, but in previous leadership positions, you always wonder about what you could do differently. believe me, john, i haven't had a lot of sleep the last two nights, and i have been doing a lot of soul-searching. i'm sick over this. i have worked for the last 12 years in public life developing a reputation for honesty and directness and blunt talk. one that i think is well deserved. but when something like this happens, it's appropriate for you to question yourself. and certainly i am. and i am soul-searching on this.
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but what i also want the people of new jersey to know is that this is the exception not the rule. and they have seen that over the last four years with the way i have worked and what i have done. i don't want to fall into the trap of saying, well, this one incident happened, therefore the one incident defines the whole. it does not. just like one employee who's lied doesn't determine the character of all the other employees around you. so i don't want to overreact to that in that way either, john. if you're asking me over the last 48 hours or last 36 hours i have done some soul-searching, you bet i have. ryan. in >> governor, the mayor of jersey city is quoted as saying the day he declined to endorse you, as many as 10 appointments between state officials and city officials were canceled. how do you explain that in context of what you now know about some of your staff?
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>> all i know is i don't know ryan, is the first answer. what i'll also say is, the mayor has disagreements with lots of people, me, senate president, and others. there's going to be back and forth. there's going to be meetings canceled. there's going to be public disagreements. but the fact of the matter is we have continued to work with jersey city over the course of time since he's been mayor. in the last year i think we have approved about $190 million in e.p.a. financing for projects in jersey city. the d.e.p. deputy commissioner was just meeting yesterday with and hiswith mayor fulop staff on issues to try to buy properties affected by sandy. we continue to work with him. i don't know about specific meetings or what's going on, but certainly i will look into all of those things. but the fact is that what mayor
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fulop knows is what we agree with him from a policy perspective, we'll work with him. when we disagree we'll express those. sometimes that will mean friction. he's suing the port authority at the moment. there's lots of back and forth and to and fro that happens. i look into all this stuff. in the end, have i at times been ulop and mayor f disagreed with him? you that i have. i also spoke at his swearing-in at his invitation. political relationships in this state go up and down as you know, brian. sometimes strange bedfellows. sometimes expected ones. and they move. i'm sure there's been movement in those relationships over time. not anything that i could explain as to the specific question. >> i heard that you actually record" andrgen learned something new.
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does the universal apology in the state of new jersey include the press corps? >> sure. most of you, i hope, are citizens of new jersey. so you -- >> there are exceptions. >> i know. we don't need to point it out. of course it does because the fact is i came out here and said something that was untrue. unwittingly, but i said something was untrue. i think what you-all have seen about me over the last four years in my dealings with you is i deal with you directly. and i say exactly what i think. and i think over time i have developed a reputation for telling you all the truth, as i see it. there could be disagreements. but the truth as i see it. so, yes, would i include the press corps? of course i would, because most if not -- many if not most of you are residents of the state and you rely upon this state government to be honest and trustworthy as well. and in this instance my government fell short and i take responsibility for that and that's why i'm apologizing. >> i was wondering what your
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staff said to you about why they lied to you. why would they do that? what was their explanation? >> i have not had any kellysation with bridget since the email came out. she was not given the opportunity to explain to me why she lied because it was so obvious she had. i'm quite frankly not interested in the explanation at the moment. i'm not done yet. second part of the question. i think general sampson put out a statement yesterday that had he no knowledge of this. iinterviewed him yesterday interviewed him yesterday, he was one of my interviews. i'm convinced he has absolutely no knowledge of this. this was executed at the operational level and never brought to the attention of the board of commissioners until chairman foy -- executive director foy wrote his teams. we sat and met for two hours with general sampson.
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again i'm confident that he had no knowledge of this based upon our conversations. and his review of his information. i think as he said yesterday he's angered by this and upset about it, and i know that he's going to lead -- cooperate with the o.i.g. investigation that's ongoing and lead a discussion at the port authority about what could be done in the future to stop such conduct. charlie. >> you mentioned earlier that the question you were asking a reflection what did i do wrong? are you also asking the question, what did i say or how did i conduct myself in a way that would let these folks think it was ok to carry out such a scheme like this? suspicions have been that you formed a coalition through your administration and campaign that allowed people to think it was
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ok to intimidate or retaliate against evil. -- against people. >> charlie, i haven't because i know who i am. i'm not that person. it's easy for people to be characterized in public life based upon their personality. and i have a very direct, blunt personality. i understand why some people would characterize that, especially people who don't like you, as bullying, but it's not that. i know that about myself and no, i haven't asked that question. i'm more focused on why the truth wasn't told to me. melissa. >> are you going to also apologize -- [indiscernible] >> i just did. i just did. i said i'm sorry for that and i would have never made that joke if i knew the facts that have come forward to me today. >> what prompted you to joke -- >> i thought it was absurd and thought we had nothing to do with it. that's why. obviously, the email evidence is
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callous indifference to that end -- to the result of that and that is what i have apologized for. and i do apologize for. i certainly intend to apologize to the mayor today. i'm going to try to get a meeting with him this afternoon. >> [inaudible] >> it looks like the retribution question, the e-mails -- [indiscernible] that the way your campaign operated -- >> i read that. i didn't read that that way. at all. and that was a reference to a traffic study that, candidly, i knew nothing about. i recognize that the email said something about the gov supported it or endorsed it. i don't know anything about it i have to believe that was like the governor's office generically, that reference.
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as i stand here today i don't know anything about a traffic study in springfield. >> your campaign -- did you guys ever go say this is what happened if you endorse us? >> god, no. absolutely not. no. no. no, that's not the way it operates. we build relationships over four years with folks trying to be helpful to every town we could be helpful with appropriately. no, nothing like that was done. >> i'm wondering if your soul- searching about the kind of the kind ofire or people who run the campaign or the kind of people you want to run the republican party who are willing to engage in political retribution and also call the mayor of fort lee a racially insensitive man. >> it was a mistake. soul-searching is complete on that part of it. it was a mistake. >> to hire him? >> obviously.
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the fact is that mistakes were made and i'm responsible for those mistakes. and i obviously tried every chance i can to hire the very best people. i think the history of this administration shows that we have hired outstanding people are with great ethical standards who have done their jobs extraordinarily well. in a government of 65,000 people there will be times when mistakes are made. mistakes were made and i have remediated those mistakes by the actions i have taken. i am in a constant state of trying to figure out who are the best people for individual jobs. who will make me proud to put them there. that's always been going on. that's nothing new. there are times when people you put in those positions make mistakes, they disappoint you, you lose your confidence in them or they lie to you.
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when you find that out, the test of leadership is what do you do? i found this out at 8:50 yesterday morning. by 9:00, this morning bridget kelly was fired. by 7:00 yesterday evening bill stepien was asked to leave my organization. that's pretty swift action for a day's work. that's exactly the way i'll continue to conduct myself. if there's any other information surrounding this that comes up or anything different that comes up over the course of the next four years. >> relatively people -- how much of confidence do you have now in the people you have surrounded yourself with? >> i can differentiate, phil, between people who have served me well and they haven't. of course there's always going to be some -- after something like this where you have been
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lied to, there's going to be some crisis in confidence. there always will be. anybody who tells you differently is not telling you the truth. they say to you this happened to you and you're not going to second-guess yourself at all, then you're just stupid. of course i second-guessed myself and gone through my head on some of this stuff. and in the future i'll try to be even more careful. but here's what i know about human beings, phil. i have hired a lot of them in my time. as u.s. attorney, as governor, and as a hiring attorney in private practice law firm. sometimes, despite the best background checks, despite the best interviews, despite your best instincts, sometimes people hires.take sometimes, they start off as a good hire and because of circumstance that is happen in
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their life they change. you can't prevent everything. but the test of leadership is when you find it out, what do you do? and i'm saddened to have to do this. it's difficult personally to do. but it's my job and i have taken an oath and i'm going to execute my job. josh. the last two nights -- le had just found out >> i'm sorry. >> in terms of -- getting an -- getting a handle on what happened, what happened? [indiscernible] there was some sort of vendetta on the new york side at the port authority after the revelations began appearing in the press? >> a few things.
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first off to my knowledge, and i think the mayor said this last night, i have no knowledge of him being asked for an endorsement. he may have been, but he certainly was never asked by me. but he, i think, said last night on television he doesn't recall being asked for an endorsement. that's why this made no sense to me, josh, because why would you execute a vendetta against somebody who you didn't even give a chance to say no to? put aside the fact you shouldn't do that at all. then if you never asked for an endorsement, why are you mad he didn't give one? none made any sense to me. that's the first point. >> you still don't know what prompted -- >> i don't. again, i don't know whether this was a traffic study that then morphed into a political vendetta or a political vendetta that morphed into a traffic study. i have seen statistics and other things about the traffic study. i know there's information there. i don't know what it is.
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we'll find out over time, maybe. but that's really in the minds of the people who are doing it. and that's what i based my decisions on at the time was the testimony that people gave. lastly, listen, i don't know exactly what you're referencing, but i think you're talking about the foy memo that was leaked? >> it seems that in emails the traffic issue arose, complaints were made, a story appeared in one of the newspapers, complaints were then lodged internally. i don't know the exact words, some people were taking inappropriate action toward the new york side -- >> yeah. i asked general sampson about this.
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it said something to that effect. i don't remember who it was. i asked general sampson about that yesterday. he said he has absolutely no idea what wildstein is referring to. the only communication that he had at that time was his concern that he expressed to fellow commissioners about internal port authority documents being leaked. and that's just not appropriate for folks to be leaking internal documents. but he has no recollection from what he told me yesterday of any conversation like that with wildstein or baroni at all that references the gist of what you said in the email. >> no payback operation going on -- >> certainly not that i'm aware of or not out of the normal. let's remember something, too. this is a bistate agency with significant tension. all the time. now, there's no tension between governor cuomo and i. we get along quite well. when issues rise to our level we have always been able to resolve them. but there is tension.
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always has been between new york and new jersey on the allocation of resources at the port authority. so let me be clear, there's some battles over there that go on that have happened in every administration over the course of my memory, but you can't connect that -- that's kind of the ongoing nature of the tension of that agency. and i think of most bistate agencies, though i think the port authority of new york and new jersey because the resources are greater and demands are greater, it's even more. no, nothing that i know of that's specific. i don't want to make clear to people that this is -- there is tension that goes on between the employees of these agencies. not every one of those issues of tensions, thank goodness, are raised to my level and governor cuomo's level. the good news for people of new york and new jersey is that when those issues have been raised in the last three years, to my level, governor cuomo's level, we have always, between the two of us, amicably resolved it and
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moved on. sometimes that's the roles governors have to play in that agency. >> governor, question your own judgment about whether or not anything -- are you questioning your judgment about whether or not you could discern esether or not putting out con to change traffic was a traffic study? >> let me answer that then i'll let you follow up. i don't know what makes a legitimate traffic study. not my area of expertise. so i wouldn't have a nose for that. just wouldn't. i don't know what makes a legitimate traffic study. i have been told that sometimes they are done live. sometimes they are done by computer model. i have heard that in the professionals who testify for the port authority. you'd have to go to them to ask them what a legitimate traffic study is. i probably wouldn't know a traffic study if i tripped over it.
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[indiscernible] didn't. >> you said that sometimes raises to the level of governors. the report now is that you -- askingernor cuomo too many questions -- >> not true. i have denied that story before. that's an old story. and governor cuomo has denied it as well. >> did he perjure himself, did he lie under oath? >> not true. i have no idea, but clearly there's a difference of opinion between senator baroni and pat foy about the existence of a traffic study. and there seems to be evidence senator baroni showed of statistics and maps and other things about traffic studies.
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this could go back to the nuance of what constitutes a traffic study or not. they may be arguing about some specifics and nuance that i'm not familiar with. but i certainly would not accuse pat foy of perjuring himself. i'm telling you what i was told and what we saw before the legislature. i certainly wouldn't accuse pat foy of perjuring himself. >> he was not under oath you , think he's genuine and not -- >> guess what? after reading everything yesterday, i don't know. but what i'm telling you is that that's what i have been told. he seemed to display evidence for that at the time. that's now, because of the tone and tenor of these emails and text messages, that's now all this stuff is something that i'm not going to warranty because i don't know given some of this back and forth. senator baroni is a very respected guy. he served in this building for a long time. i have known him for a long time. when he made his testimony, i would have no reason to believe
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that he wasn't telling the truth. but obviously from reading these emails yesterday there was other stuff going on that i hadn't been informed about. >> you never called him -- >> i never called him personally, no. but baroni's position continues to be there was a traffic study. and he has a disagreement with pat foy about that. they had a disagreement, that was clear. pat foy had already expressed those concerns in earlier written documents that he -- someone had put out to the press. matt? >> [inaudible] >> i had no conversation with bill. listen, i had earlier conversations with bill where, as i expressed to you at the time, that bill told me he knew absolutely nothing about this. so -- and certainly the emails
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yesterday, emails are well after the fact, so -- but that's not the basis upon which i made my decision on bill. my decision on bill was made based on the fact of the tone, tenor, and conduct evidenced in those emails. i lost confidence in his judgment. that's why i made the decision i made as to bill. brian? >> it's no secret that many republicans -- do you see what has happened here fighting the decision-making process of the next -- >> i have no idea what it would look like at this point. as i have said many times before. i know that everybody in the political media and in the political chattering class wants
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to start the 2016 race. and universities can't help themselves but do polls that are meaningless three years away from an election. you guys can't help but put them on the air and talk about them. my job is to be governor of new jersey. i'll say what i have said before. i am enormously flattered that folks would talk about me in my party as someone who they think could be a candidate for president. but i am absolutely nowhere near beginning that consideration process. i haven't even been sworn in for my second term yet. i've got work to do here. that's my focus. my focus is on the people of new jersey and the job they gave me. all those considerations are the kind of hysteria that goes around this because everybody's in that world gets preoccupied with that job. i am not preoccupied with that job. i'm preoccupied with this one. as you can tell, i got plenty to do. it's not like i got some spare time to spend.
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because you rolled your eyes and looking very disgruntled i hadn't called on you. i have known brian longer than you. [laughter] >> can you elaborate on your feelings for his role in hit -- in it -- >> i am sad. i am sad. that is the predominant emotion i feel right now, sadness. sadness that i was betrayed by a member of my staff. sadness that i had people but i entrusted with important jobs who acted completely inappropriately. sad that that has led to the people of new jersey to have less confidence in the people that i have selected. the emotion i've been displaying a private is sad. as i said earlier, i don't know what the stages of grief are,
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the exact order. i know anger gets there at some point. i'm sure i will have that. right now i am sad. let me just clear something up about my childhood friend, david. it is true that i met david in 1977 in high school. he is a year older than me. david and i were not friends in high school. we were not even acquaintances in high school. i had a high school in livingston, a three-year high school that had 1800 students. it was the late 70s, early 1980's. i met david on the tom kane for governor campaign in 1977. use was a youth volunteer and so was i. after that time i lost touch with him. we did not travel in the same circles in high school. i was a class president and athlete. i don't know what he was doing
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during that. of time. -- during that period of time. we reacquainted years later in 2000 when he was helping bob franks with his senate campaign. we went 23 years without seeing each other. in the years we did see each other we passed in the hallways. i want to clear that up. it doesn't make a difference except that i think some of the stories that have been written in cute some sort of a in -- and emotional relationship -- emotional closeness between us that does not exist. i know david and then i knew that no baroni wanted to hire him to come to the port authority. i gave it -- i gave my permission. that was ill's higher. -- bill's hire. how i feel about david now? what i read yesterday made me angry.
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that is the one bit of anger i felt. that language and callous indifference from david yesterday are just over the top and outrageous. they should never, ever, been written or uttered by someone with a position of responsibility like that. it is the way i feel about it and that is the opportunity. -- opportunity to espouse on our relationship. >> [inaudible] >> john, i said i have not spoken to him since i discovered the e-mails. i spoke to them beforehand and bridget clearly did not tell me the truth. bill -- what he told me at the time is not contradicted by the
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e-mails. but the e-mails and the coloring characteristics of the e-mails have led me to conclude that i do not have confidence in his judgment anymore and that is why i asked him to move on. he has. at this point, there are legislative hearings coming and all the rest and i do not want to get myself in the middle of that. the chairman intends to ask bridget kelly to testify in my gut sense is that it would not be appropriate for me to get in the middle of that. there would be all kind of other allegations about those conversations. at the the smarter things -- i think the smart thing for me to do is to move on from there and talk to other folks still in my employ. >> are there other things by your inner circle that was in those e-mails? >> i believe that i have spoken to everyone who is mentioned in the e-mails except for charlie
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mckenna who was away at a family funeral. i'm confident that they had no prior knowledge or involvement in the situation. >> they had no involvement in the situation. >> that is your characterization not mine. there is nobody on my staff with any knowledge of this issue. in the back. [inaudible] >> it is awful. i have seen conflicting reports about what the cause of death was. it does not matter. is awful to hear. all i can do is apologize for
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the conduct of people who worked for me. i cannot reverse time. if i could i would i'm just going to apologize. i believe that is all you can do. >> governor, along the lines, you have said you are focused on regaining the people in new jersey. the first couple of years as governor, you traveled all over the state. any thought of possibly trying to do something like that again? >> we suspended town halls during the campaign because of our concern that folks may raise the issue of in the midst of a campaign blurring the line between what would be a town hall of that and a campaign event. we made the determination we would not do town hall meetings. i had no plans to do it during the transition.
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we could not do them during the second term -- we will hopefully try to do as many as we did in the first term. the fact is, i don't believe i have lost the people of trust -- the trust of people in new jersey. they are looking at how their leader is going to react. i believe that when they see me take the action i will take today, they will see that mistakes are made and know the governor had nothing to do with that but he is taking responsibility and making the decisions he needs to make. >> two questions. -- two questions. >> that is between david and his attorney.
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he is represented by counsel. i would love to hear the whole story. i can't advise him what to do. he will make his own judgment. i don't want to be in the position of instructing someone to do something. they are represented by counsel. he and his lawyer will determine what is in their messed interests. certainly, hearing the story would be good for everybody. >> governor, who initiated this thing? >> up to this point in time, it was senator brody's testimony that mr. wells being initiated. -- wildstein initiated. clearly he played a major role. whether it was his idea, time will tell.
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but clearly there was knowledge of the section, whatever it was, fire to the beginning of it with bridget jones. that is something that i said was not the case a few weeks ago. i was lied to. [inaudible] >> i would love for you to believe that i interviewed hundreds of thousands of people. i did not. my aids interviewed hundreds of people. it was a rare occasion when the u.s. attorney goes into her room
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and interviews a witness. it probably happens a dozen times in seven years. if you are trying to understand this on a personal level, if you have worked with someone for five years. they have been a member of your political team. governmental team. you look at them and say, what you know about this? question -- did you have any knowledge of it? they look at you and they say, no. you have never had any reason before to believe that they were anything but truthful, why would you not leave them? i worked on the bases of trust with people. i assumed over. of time that most -- i assumed over a period of time that most people are trustworthy unless proven otherwise. when we got the answers, there was no reason at the time we
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asked for us to believe that they were not true based on the person. if you look at some of the stores today, i don't think you have hurt -- heard anybody talk about her in any way except positive ways. i had no reason to believe she was telling me anything other than the truth. i was heartbroken. i trusted that i was being told the truth. i wasn't by somebody who i had placed a significant amount of trust in. i miss it? that is why we are here. we missed it. what do you do when you find that you missed it? i found out a little before 9:00 yesterday morning. by 9:00 this morning, her position was terminated.
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i think that is swift, appropriate action that people would expect in the chief executive of the state. [inaudible] >> yeah. >> -- the nature of it. it sounded like -- he knew -- [inaudible] >> i can't read anything else into it other than that you are inferring things from the e-mail. i don't know. we didn't even know about the existence the e-mail when we asked questions. i found up for the first time at 8:50 yesterday morning. you can only imagine, as i was standing in my bedroom, looking at that, how incredibly sad and betrayed i felt. i don't know what to say beyond that.
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>> you were a u.s. attorney with a high profile. you are not a governor -- now a governor. what instruction are you giving your staff? can we expect to see claims of executive or late? -- executive privilege? >> i have nothing to hide. i have not given any instruction to anyone yet. my instructions would be to cooperate and answer questions. i have nothing to hide. any questions anybody wants to ask they can ask. from law enforcement. anything they want to ask, they can ask. we have nothing to hide. this demonstration has nothing to hide. >> -- fact-finding is still
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getting some momentum. -- impact is put on hold? -- chief of staff -- [inaudible] >> absolutely not. his confirmation he hearing will go forward on tuesday. i expect he will be vigorously question like any candidate for attorney general should be. i expect he will get swift and certain confirmation because he deserves it. >> much of this discussion has taken place on e-mail accounts. [inaudible] >> i haven't thought about that. they're how are -- there are a lot of things i have been thinking about and that is not one of them. >> have you gotten any other e-mails yesterday?
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>> we have been given no documents. i don't know. none were offered to us. the first time we saw any documents was on the website yesterday morning. we haven't been offered any. charlie. >> -- did she have the authorization to carry out significant policy decisions such as the authorization of the governor's office -- traffic study, funding, without getting prior approvals from you or your senior staff? >> i don't believe rigid -- bridget had policy authority on any issue.
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her job was to interact with the other governmental agencies and to have interactions with members of the legislature. that was her job. my understanding of her authority was that she had no authority on policy. policy issues had to be run through the chief of staff office. no. again, i know there are are certain suppositions in that question. my understanding of her authority was not that it extended to policy. >> [inaudible] they find it hard to believe that bridget would be making these kinds of decisions.
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>> she had no prior approval. she had no prior approval from the chief of staff who was her direct report. she had no prior approval from the governor. she did not seek it. we were not informed about it. she acted in a manner that exceeded her authority, which seems a possibility, that is what she did. i had no knowledge is of this -- i had no knowledge of this and neither did the chief of staff. [inaudible] >> i spoke to mike last night. david at that time was considering whether or not to resign. he made the determination the next day in a meeting with the administration to resign. i don't believe for my conversation with mike last
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night that that was the main topic of the dinner that night. the dinner was a social dinner, not a professional dinner. >> [inaudible] >> to the extent i can. from what i know, at this point, mr. perrone and mr. wildstein's position was that the lanes were close to do a traffic study. i now see e-mails that indicate there is a political overtone to what went on. i don't know what the situation is. i think i answered this before. you don't know whether this was some type of rogue political operation that morphed into a traffic study, or a traffic
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study that morphed into a political operation. i don't know. listen. as best buy can. but he is scheduled to testify at the legislature. it is not like he is available for interview. as i said into root -- in response to a question, i will not give you the middle of the legislative process with people that did not know they would be witnesses. that would be inappropriate. let them do their job. if i did, i would be accused of trying to play around with testimony which i will not get involved with. >> [inaudible] >> you think i am suggesting any traffic studies anytime soon, you have to be kidding pete -- me. i think i am out of the traffic
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study is ms.. -- traffic study business. that should be left to the professional staff and port authority. but the professional engineers and those folks deal with whether those things should be done or not. i'm confident saying this is the current position of the administration. luke. >> speaker elect said yesterday that -- [indiscernible] do believe that he -- continues to look into -- [inaudible] >> i think they have every right to do what they are doing given what was revealed yesterday. i'm certainly not going to question that. i think given what was revealed yesterday, i was shocked by it. they were too.
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i have a good relationship with the incoming speaker and i will work with him to put this matter to west -- rest. i will not question their right or ability to do that. >> [indiscernible] did anyone say to you -- >> his name was never mentioned to me. his position was never mentioned to me. when i say he was not on my radar screen, that means he was not on my radar screen. i never had bill or anybody else connected with the campaign even mentioned to me. even an update. hey, we have had two meetings with the mayor. i would get those kinds of
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updates. i never heard the fort lee mayor's name until all the stuff happened. he was not on my radar at all. plenty of mayors were. many wound up endorsing us. we had meetings with them. this may or, not only did i never meet with him, he was never mentioned to me. you go back to the question over making a joke about this -- that is part of the reason i felt comfortable doing it. this can't have anything to do with politics. i don't even know this guy. how could it be that somebody would do something like this against a mayor that i never had any conversations with or a sense that we were seeking his endorsement? that is why this is such -- part of the reason this is such a mystery to me, john. and why i'm so upset about it. >> [indiscernible]
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>> i would've said, who was he? who is he and what did he do? i don't know this guy. i may have met him in a greeting line or a big event or town hall meeting. i'm telling you, until yesterday when i saw his picture on tv, if he had walked into the room i would not have been able to pick him out. that is not to diminish him. in this context, this is not a guy on my radar screen in any way. his name was never brought up to me by bill until after the story started to appear about the fort lee traffic problem. that is the first time i heard about this mayor. that is why, john, it is such a mystery to me. sure, of course i was kelly. he wasn't one of them.
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i am happy to admit that i was trying to run up this core. absolutely. that is what you doing up a legal campaign. we try to get as many supporters and endorses that turn into voters. that is your job. >> [indiscernible] >> of course. i had to go get it. invariably in these things, i ultimately had to make a phone call or do something to bring the person over the finish line. it was a rare occurrence that i never met a person or spoke a person -- to a person. my point is trying to give your context for what i do not think this was an issue. i know the campaign we ran. i know who i was pursuing. the endorsers. i know who was close and we did not get. i know who was never close. i know the people we got. the sky was never on my radar
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screen. i think he confirm that last night. -- this guy was never on my radar screen. i think he confirmed that last night. that is why i don't get this. it is what it is. i'm responsible for it. i am responsible for it. it happened on my watch. you can't just say, well, listen, i didn't know about it so it is not my problem. talk to somebody else. the buck stops at my desk. i have to act. i acted as quickly as i could responsibly. i found out about this yesterday. by 9:00 today pritchett was terminated. -- bridget was terminated. i think that is swift action given that i was blindsided by this yesterday. i am not happy i was blindsided
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or proud. as i said when i came appear, i feel humiliated by this. i'm of the -- i am a person who cares deeply about doing my job well. i have worked hard at it. i took an oath to that effect. i am humiliated by the fact that i did not know this and i was deceived. that is an awful way to feel. >> why hasn't -- [indiscernible] -- talked to her yesterday. she is not happy. >> the supporters children. >> [indiscernible] can i get your --
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>> wasn't good. i think that is why i'm here apologizing. it was an awful, callous, indifferent thing to do. if it was part of a traffic study, that is one thing. once it has political overtones, that is an entirely different matter. that is why am upset about this. that is why i apologized to the people of new jersey. why i apologize to the people of fort lee who were inconvenienced over the four days. it is not right. i have no idea. i will respond to those questions as i have before. as a former u.s. attorney, when i was u.s. attorney, i hate it when politicians stood behind podiums and told the department of justice what to do. i will not do that after complaining to my colleagues for seven years.
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>> you just said, i have nothing to hide. you repeated it. did you ever imagine you would stand before this mini cameras and say you have nothing to hide. >> no. >> [indiscernible] >> yeah. that was a searing bit of commentary. >> obviously this is the nature medicaid experience. -- a traumatic experience. >> no. brian. i know what you are asking. -- that is a crazy question, man.
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i had nothing to do with this. no, i never gave any thought to doing that. what was i thinking about last night when i couldn't go to sleep? how did this happen? that is what i was thinking about. sure, when you are responsible, and i spent a lot of time -- talking me through it. that is when it is great to have a really supportive spouse. she is willing to do for hours, too. that is what i was thinking. how did it happen? why do people do this? i don't get it. i work hard at this job. it is incredibly disappointing to have people let you down this way.
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i am incredibly loyal to my people. i expect in return their honesty and candor and loyalty. i did not get it. it is a hard thing. after you work as hard as i do. here's the thing. this is my job. there will be mistakes and disappointments. i don't think there is a perfect government anywhere in the country. i never claimed to have one. i claimed to have the bus government i could possibly make. sometimes there will be mistakes. when there are come a i have to own up to them and act. my promise to the people the state is if there is any other evidence that comes forward that requires action to be taken, i will take it. no matter how much it hurts me personally or dismays me. this of the job i asked for. i have to do it.
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>> -- [indiscernible] that is something that was in the works. you think he was jumping ship a little bit? >> neither. as i said that day, i'm a determination during the fall campaign that i wanted to make a change at the port authority. bill was one of the longest-serving deputy executive directors at four years. i felt like it was time for a change. part of it was about the internal workings. there's a lot of hand to hand combat over at the port authority. between new york and new jersey. about resources.
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i thought four years as was enough for any one person. i had approached him during the fall campaign. he was the policy chief. i said, i am thinking about making a change at the port authority. would you be willing to take the job if i ask you question mark she said, yes. -- if i asked you? she said, yes. after the election, that was communicated to bill. what we were trying to do was figure it out the timing of all this. i wanted him to finish the policy work. i wanted bill to have an appropriate peer to time to get himself ready to move on to his next opportunities. that is the way the process work. it was neither building -- bill
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jumping ship nor us pushing for this reason. it was a saying, it was time to go. you have served four years and i want to put someone else there. all that was very amicable at the time. something that he understood to be such. david. >> governor, a couple hours up to story broke yesterday, -- the longer the list was growing up people begin about issuing subpoenas. he was asked if that could possibly include you. he said he would have the authority to issue a subpoena for anybody he had -- he needed to get information from. if you get a subpoena will, what would you do? >> i will not speculate on that. >> [indiscernible] these e-mails reveal that -- related to the issue.
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did you know about that? >> i don't know about what you are talking about. this is the first i have heard of it. i don't believe there is. we take these requests seriously. we have a person dedicated in the counsel's office to review these matters. we have members of new -- in the department to review this. i think in the main, we have responded to these requests properly under the law. that is my understanding from
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both my first and second chief counsel. i don't have any reason to believe otherwise. i don't know the incident you are talking about, but there are sometimes mistakes that are made and oversight. no, there is no pattern of that. it is the law. we have to comply with it and we comply with the law as it is written. >> do you think this will affect your ability to [inaudible] >> i have no idea. i don't get those calls correctly -- directly. no, it won't affect my ability to work at all. yes. >> [inaudible] are you the victim here? should she have been fired --
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>> first of all, i don't know that she ordered a traffic study. i know what you are i might infer from that. we are going to have to find out. i understand. that is not what you asked. when i asked for an answer from a member of my staff and they lie, regardless of what they might about, they are gone. i never had to get to the underlying conduct. if you lie when i ask you a question, you are fired. that is it. if i had gotten to the underlying concept, there was plenty there to fire her on too. question one was, do you know anything about this? did you have any involvement? the answer was, no. the e-mail said that the answer should have been yes. i need go no further than that to make a determination about
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her future employment with me. >> from a compliance standpoint -- [inaudible] isn't that a management mistake? >> are you suggesting i should have kept her? listen -- if i did that, you would have the legislature complaining about talking to someone who the chairman had said publicly he intends to call as a witness. i think the higher priority for me is not to interfere with what the legislature is doing. i am not going to do that because the political nature of this would lead to charges of interference. i am not going to do that. if she wants to testify there and she testifies, if after that time we have other questions, then we can make the decision at
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that time whether to pursue that information. it is my judgment -- you can disagree with it, but it is my judgment that for me to get involved with someone who the chairman is saying don't even call as a witness, between the time i discovered this and the time she may testify, would be not the right thing to do. i certainly wouldn't tamper with the witness but i could be accused of tampering with a witness. >> at what point does this political misconduct across -- >> i don't know. the best way for me to not involve myself in that is to not involve myself in that. i am dressed -- just trying to be a safe and careful steward of the public trust. would i love to have more information yesterday? you bet.
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i also have to understand the position i hold. it is a position of extraordinary trust. i have to execute that position with the acknowledgment of that trust. that is why i am not doing it. >> [inaudible] >> i didn't quite understand your question. i had trouble hearing you. it was a surprise that he was subpoenaing, i didn't get the last part. we didn't have the documents. we asked bridget kelly. she told us she didn't have any. we asked her if she was involved, she said she was not. we asked if she had any knowledge ends -- and she said
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she didn't. i was surprised because i was told there was nothing there and there was. this is not a mystery. if you ask for something and someone deceives you and tells you it doesn't exist, what is the follow-up? are you sure? yes. have you searched your e-mails? yes. you don't have anything? no. ok, were you involved in any way? no. any knowledge? no. after that, what do you do? you would have to ask them, i don't know. i don't think so. >> [inaudible] >> no. i know you guys would love that if i actually did. i am not to that stage yet. i am sure i might get to the stage where i am angry -- i don't break things. you need to understand this.
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i am standing here resolved to do my job and do what i am supposed to do. but i am a very sad person today. that is the emotion i feel. a person close to me betrayed me. a person who i counted on and trusted for five years betrayed me. a person who i gave a high government office to betrayed me. i will get angry at some point but i am sad area i am a sad -- i am sad. i am a sad guy standing here today. that is the overriding emotion. i know that because of my bluntness and my directness that people think, he might get behind that door and be a lunatic when he is sad about something.
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if you ask the staff, it is the rare moment in this office when i raise my voice. the rare moment, when i raise my voice. i reserve it for very special times and i will tell you the last time i did. four weeks ago when i had them all in that office and i said, if any of you have any information about this that i don't know, you need to tell me, kevin or charlie now. that was the last time i raise my voice in that office. so no, i didn't break anything. i didn't yell and scream. it is a sad day for me. i am doing what i am obligated to do under this job. it is the right thing to do. but it doesn't make me angry at the moment. it just makes me sad.
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>> [inaudible] >> no. i have had no contact with david in a long time, a longtime, well before the election. i could probably count on one hand and number of conversations i have had with david since he worked for the port authority. i did not interact with david. if i ran into him, we would say hello, how is your family? we would chat. we didn't have that kind of relationship. i understand how it has been characterized in the press. yes, he had an important job, but he was not interacting with the governor on a regular basis. there were channels to go through here. he went through those channels and if something had to be
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brought to my attention -- i don't even run for -- remember in the last four years having a meeting with david. nobody called and told me anything. at 8:50 yesterday morning, i got done with my workout at 845, my trainer left and at 8:50, maria called me and told me of her -- about the breaking story and that was the first ainu of any of the e-mails. >> [inaudible] >> yes. that is why i apologize. i don't think it is my credibility. i think if i didn't stand up and take responsibility and
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apologize directly to the people of new jersey as i have done today, then i think that would be a risk. i am not that kind of person. i understand responsibility of this job. i think i said this at the press conference in december. there are plenty of times i get credit for things that i have little to do with as governor. sometimes i get blamed for things that i have little to do with. it doesn't matter. i am the governor. the things that happen on my watch on my responsibility, both good and bad. you are darn right. what they did hurt the people of new jersey. it hurt the people of fort lee. the person who needs to apologize for that is made. and i have. i am sorry to all the people of this state that they have to be occupied with this matter. it is embarrassing. the whole matter is humiliating to me.
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all you can do as a person when you know this is to stand up and be genuine and sincerely apologize and hope that people accept your apology. i think i have built up enough goodwill over time with the people of new jersey that i am hopeful they will accept my apology. >> [inaudible] are you going to make an effort to look at computers and blackberries and things like that? >> the answer as of right now is, i don't know. it is something that i have talked to staff about looking at. again, we found about this 24 hours ago. things will take some time. i asked them specifically to
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check their e-mails and let me know if there is anything that touches upon this. folks who have worked for bridget also, to see if there is anything they know and can shed light on. we are in the process of doing this but that is going to be time-consuming. i just began that process yesterday. i will work with my new chief counsel to get that done. we will uncover whatever information we need to. wherever the information comes from, we will take it into account. >> [inaudible] >> political retribution? no.
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political fighting? sure. people go back and forth all the time and you have seen that in this building no matter what administration was here. the way we are different is, we can fight but then we get into a room and more times than not, we are able to reach common ground with the other side to move progress forward. the dream act signing a few weeks ago is a perfect example of that. there was a lot of fighting about that and a lot of hysteria in the media about who is saying what about whom and what does all this mean and anger and back and forth between me and the president and others who were supporters -- part of that is, what should you be doing to engage political debate and persuade folks to your point of view? ultimately, what makes this different and the thing i was
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talking about is that this is an administration that has never shut down government over a budget dispute. this is an administration that has reached bipartisan consensus on issues that have been problems for new jersey for decades that no one has been able to reach consensus on. this is an administration that has gotten big things done. that is what i mean. will we fight sometimes and will things get sharp elbowed? you bet. it goes both ways. retribution, no. >> [inaudible]
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knowing what you know now about your staffers lying to you -- >> no. that was a situation which was handled by the attorney general at the time and now the judge. i have complete and utter confidence in her and her ability to make those decisions. i was not involved in that decision nor was anybody in this building. we don't get involved in law enforcement issues. there is no reason for me to go back and look at that. david. >> is this issue going to affect that at all? if so, the overtones, will you approach it in any kind of different way? no. >> no. this is one issue we have to deal with. it is an important issue. it cannot be the only issue. we have things to do in this state. i am going to keep working and i
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will work on this and other things as well. it is very important today within 24 hours of these revelations for me to take action and apologize to the people of fort lee and that is exactly what i am doing. >> [inaudible] >> i was going to call him after this. if you want to see me, i will go see other people in fort lee. i wish he would see me. i am certainly not going to barge into his office. if he doesn't want to see me, i will go someplace else in fort lee and talk to people. i wish the mayor would reconsider. i have come to genuinely apologize to him. if he doesn't want a meeting, i don't know what he means -- what were the words?
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premature and disruptive, i don't know how the meeting between two elected officials and the premature and disruptive. that is his choice. i will meet with other people in fort lee. >> [inaudible] >> i have no knowledge of that. we would consider that in the normal course of business. certainly not something that i am prepared to talk about now. >> can you explain why -- [inaudible] >> i think there was an earlier story. i don't remember exactly. something about traffic.
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>> why didn't you respond then? >> we did. we were told it was a traffic study. >> but the mayor is saying -- >> we were told they did a traffic study. that is what we were told. we did respond. that is how we responded. again, i am not somebody who is going to be getting into the details of a traffic study. i can tell you that at that first comment, that is when i became aware that there was some issue. i didn't delve into it. it was not something that i was personally delving into. >> [inaudible] mayor sokolich saying he thinks it might be premature --
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[inaudible] >> listen, my intention was when i got out of here, to call the mayor. i will call the mayor and we will see. in any event, i am going to go to fort lee today. it is important for me to do that. if the mayor doesn't want me to meet with him, that is his choice. i am sure -- listen, i don't know him. i can't be offended. i am not offended. if he wants to meet with me today, i am happy to meet with them. if he doesn't want to meet with me, i am still going to fort lee today. i think it is important for me to be on the ground there today and apologize to folks. i am going to do that. if he wants to be part of that, he is more than welcome.
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if he doesn't, that is his choice too. he has independent will. that is his call. thank you all for coming today. and for your questions. i will see all of you if not before, on tuesday. thank you very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> several items to tell you about. on c-span 2, a forum on the political outlook. sponsored by center forward at 8:30. the joint economic committee will discuss the december employment numbers. oh is that the
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washington center. chle is at the washington center. today's headlines and your calls on "washington journal." the house is in session at 9:00. today's in jeddah -- agenda includes security breaches compromising personal information in the health care exchanges. in a few moments, the focus on new jersey governor chris christie's apology. for several days of bridge lane closures last year. it was orchestrated by a member of his staff. we will speak with state legislators about the incident. on one of thefic busiest bridges between new jersey and new york. in one hour, we will be joined to talk about how
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ordinary citizens interact with the justice system. >> i am responsible for what happens. to the peopleport of new jersey that we fell short. ♪ traffic lane closures have become a and -- a national and political issue for chris christie. reactiono get your this morning on "the washington journal." residents, (202) 585-3883. we want to hear from you. we also want to hear from democrats, rli

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